Too many people have forgotten the art of compromise. If “your side” doesn’t achieve 100% of what it is striving for, the decision is denounced instead of celebrating the movement that was made. Often, people frame results as “won” or “lost” instead of focusing on the fact that something was accomplished.

Today rarely is anyone happy with a decision. For example, President Biden announced new immigration policies that were immediately called out by several groups wanting him to go further AND by conservative groups that opposed his actions. Biden halted the construction of the Keystone pipeline that pleased environmentalists and angered the Canadians. He has the most diverse Cabinet in history but was criticized because there are not enough Latinos included.

Dissatisfaction happens in every organization, not just in the political setting. To be an effective leader, you must remain focused on the overall goal and work to advance results to achieve it – without regard to whether or not people are happy about your decision. Reward your team for coming to a compromise by asking what the different parties have given up and where some movement was made. Continue to encourage trade-offs rather than hard-ball negotiations. Do what is right for the organization instead of what is popular. Stop evaluating issues through an all-or-nothing lens.

Real movement happens when we learn to embrace the gray.

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